Cloaking is a very negative aspect of Google and lot of people has little idea about it. Let’s see what Cloaking is, how Google defines it, how it is a high risk etc.
Cloaking is fundamentally presenting different content to users and to Google bar. For example, a user asks for a page in the web server and Google bar asks for a page as well. In majority of situations, web server will present the same page to both. Cloaking is when you show different contents to both and that is definitely a violation against Google guidelines.
The answer to the question why Google doesn’t like Cloaking is because when Google Bar visit a page, the web server that is cloaking might return a page of cartoons, but when a user visit a page which shows it’s Disney cartoon, the server might actually return something vulgar and obnoxious.
There are ways to keep you in the safer side of cloaking.
- Retrieve a page both as a user and as Google bar and then hash them. Match the numbers and if the numbers are different then it’s because of Cloaking.
- You can also check the codes of your web servers and search for the IP addresses of Google Bar and notice for any unusual content.
You should also understand that Geo – location and handling mobile phones are not part of Cloaking. The reason being Google Server retrieves pages and present which are suitable for users of that particular geo location (French web pages for .fr users or English pages for .uk users) or for a particular mobile server like Android or Windows. Therefore, here you shouldn’t look for the IP addresses of Google Bar and distinct it. The instinct behind Cloaking is users should come to the same page albeit using different medium.